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Designing Self-Storage Projects: Reasons to Hire an Architect

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Overcoming Zoning Challenges

Architects can help a project progress through the governing jurisdiction more smoothly. I’ve worked on both sides of the process. As an architect, I’ve presented many projects to planning commissions and city councils. And as a former planning commissioner, I watched architects and owners present projects to the commission―some successfully, some not.

Because architects deal with the rules and regulations of government on a daily basis, they understand the codes and guidelines necessary to design a project. Some jurisdictions almost require you to use an architect without coming right out and telling you that. Some can make the entitlement process fast, and some can drag it out in an attempt to discourage construction.

Avoiding Mistakes

Architects also stop clients from making serious mistakes. I recently worked on a project in which the client wanted to park recreational vehicles on a piece of property before he had the city’s approval. When he told me what he planned to do, I explained the potential political ramifications of parking RVs there before the planners gave their “blessing”―even if it was legal to do so. Planners have a tendency to stretch things out if they’re not happy. Architects are good at slowing down anxious clients.

Architects who specialize in self-storage design generally provide a better result than off-the-shelf packages from manufacturers of pre-fabricated structures; and they are definitely more reliable than architects who have never designed a self-storage facility. Better layouts, custom design and maximizing the site are just a few of the reasons to use an architect.

As to the 101 uses for a dead architect, ask any contractor. Just be sure to stop him when he gets to 102!

Ken Carrell is the owner of ARE Associates, a architectural firm specializing in self-storage. ARE has been in business more than 10 years, and Mr. Carrell has been in the architectural field for more than 30. He has designed more than 100 self-storage facilities and is licensed in several states. To reach him, call 949.305.4752 or e-mail . For more information, visit .

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